Haitian Nun, Mother Mary Lange, a Candidate for Sainthood

African-Haitian Catholic nun, Mother Mary Lange, is finally receiving recognition for her role in Christianizing the greater parts of northern and southern America. She is being considered for sainthood.


Raised in Cuba, she immigrated to the U.S. and began the Oblate Sisters of Providence Order, the first African-American convent in 1829. She also started a private school to educate black children, who had no other access to an education.

Baltimore Archbishop, James Hector, admired her work and urged her to establish the Oblate Sisters of Providence, to prepare black girls to serve as nuns. He appointed her as Mother Superior of the order.

The Oblate Sisters' ministry included running an orphanage and nursing home, and teaching catechism classes to emancipated slaves. To raise money to keep the programs in operation, the sisters also worked as domestics in a seminary.

Her success in America against forces of racial bias and intolerance brought recognition that spread to the Caribbean and Africa. She became known world-wide as an instrument of God's love for all races and classes of people. The Vatican viewed her as the embodiment of Jesus' philosophy to turn the other cheek when faced with violence and hatred.

Mother Mary expired on February 3, 1882 at a convent in Baltimore, seat of her life-long work to educate the black community, while bringing them the Word of God. The Baltimore diocese has considered Mother Mary for canonization, the first black nun to move toward sainthood ever.

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